Best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2022: stunning second screens for every budget

Man wearing headphones and using a Dell 32-inch monitor, one of the best monitors for MacBook Pro
(Image credit: Dell)

Looking for the best monitors for MacBook Pro? We're not surprised. If you've invested in one of the the best MacBooks (opens in new tab), you won't want to be held back by the size of the screen. While a MacBook's Pro compact size makes it perfect for portability, when you're back at your desk editing photos and videos, you'll want to open multiple windows, with enough space to see everything in detail. And so a second monitor starts to make a lot of sense.

Even the 16-inch MacBook Pro M1 Pro or M1 Max (opens in new tab) could feel restrictive when you've got multiple editing pallets open, resulting in a small image or video preview pane. And multitasking two or more windows alongside each other could feel equally confining. The problem is only made worse with smaller 13-inch MacBooks, which while great for portability, can soon become restrictive over long periods of use.

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A second, standalone monitor can instantly expand your viewing horizons. However, you need to make sure you have the right connectors. Most monitors still use conventional video connections: HDMI or DisplayPort. However, Apple only outfits its latest MacBook Pro models with Thunderbolt/USB-C ports. Consequently, if you want to connect a monitor directly to your MacBook, it'll need to be a USB-C-compatible screen

The good news is, all the monitor options in this guide are USB-C monitors, so are ready to plug and play. If you do choose a non-USB-C monitor elsewhere, though, you'll need to buy a DisplayPort to USB-C adapter dongle separately.

Also, consider what you want from a second screen. Size is of course important, as there's no point adding a second monitor if it's too small for the work you're doing. We reckon 27-inch screens offer a great balance between screen real estate while not being too physically unwieldy. 

You'll also wish to ensure consistent color and contrast across both screens. Then it's a case of the more you spend, the higher the color accuracy of the panel, and the better the coverage of color spaces like sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and Rec. 709 - important for a serious image or video editing.

Best monitors for MacBook Pro in 2022

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Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Dell)
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1. Dell UltraSharp U2720Q

The best monitor for MacBook Pro overall

Specifications

Screen size: 27 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840x2160 (4K)
Brightness: 350cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Good specs for the money
+
High 1300:1 contrast ratio

Reasons to avoid

-
DCI-P3 coverage could be slightly higher

The Dell UltraSharp U2720Q packs a 4K UHD resolution, 10-bit color depth, and some neat extras, all inside a smart case with an ‘InfinityEdge’ ultra-thin bezel, ensuring this screen will look great alongside your MacBook Pro. 

The excellent 1300:1 maximum contrast ratio, along with 99% sRGB,  99% Rec. 709, and 95% DCI-P3 color coverage also means this monitor's image quality is a match for your MacBook's Retina display. In addition to more conventional video connections like HDMI and DisplayPort, there are a pair of USB-C ports that can be used to directly connect the monitor to a modern MacBook Pro, and one of these ports can also supply up to 90W of power to your laptop.

See also Best 4K monitors (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Paul Reiffer)
The best monitor for MacBook Pro if money's no object

Specifications

Screen size: 27 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 5120×2880 (5K)
Brightness: 600cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1200:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
5K resolution
+
Wide viewing angle
+
Glare reduction

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

If you want the best monitor for MacBook Pro, you want to go to the source, right? And so it is that the Apple Studio Display, launched earlier this year, is an excellent second monitor for these purposes. Just be warned: it's very expensive. 

Should you be able to afford it, though, you'll be rewarded with a very lovely 27-inch 5K display, with true and consistent colors, up to 600 nits of brightness, and an extremely wide viewing angle. The nano-textured glass option on the screen delivers an incredible amount of glare reduction. And connectivity is excellent too, with three USB-C ports and one Thunderbolt port.

Read our full Apple Studio Display review (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: BenQ)
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A stunning - if expensive - second screen for your MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 27 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840x2160 (4K)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning color space coverage
+
Shading hood included
+
USB-C, HDR and pre-calibrated

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Utilitarian design

This 27-inch 4K monitor is great if you're serious about matching the color accuracy of your MacBook's screen. It boasts superb color space coverage, with the wide-gamut 16-bit display delivering 99% Adobe RGB, 100% sRGB/Rec.709, and 90% DCI-P3/Display P3 coverage. 

Hardware color calibration ensures a high color accuracy of Delta E ≤ 2 for Adobe RGB and sRGB content, and the monitor boasts Pantone and CalMAN validation, with support for standalone monitor calibrators. The SW271C also benefits from BenQ's third-generation color Uniformity Technology, which fine-tunes the color and brightness of sub-regions across the screen for a more consistent viewing experience. The monitor's USB-C connection means you can hook it up to a modern MacBook Pro with a single cable, and the SW271C can supply up to 60W Power Delivery to a MacBook - enough to power it through most scenarios.

Read our full BenQ SW271C Review (opens in new tab)

Dell UltraSharp PremierColor U3219QRecommended

(Image credit: Dell)

4. Dell UltraSharp PremierColor U3219Q

HDR and excellent color accuracy

Specifications

Screen size: 31.5 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Brightness: 400cd/m2
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent sRGB color space coverage
+
Fairly well priced
+
Plenty of screen space

Reasons to avoid

-
AdobeRGB coverage not great
-
Only 2 display inputs

Dell produces several excellent monitors which would work great alongside a MacBook Pro, but the U3219Q offers the the one to get if you want top color accuracy and a huge workspace to boot. 

This 31.5-inch panel can display 99% of the sRGB color space, while factory color calibration ensures a Delta-E accuracy of less than 2. The giant Dell is also capable of displaying HDR content, as it just meets the 400cd/m2 brightness needed for HDR output. Add an excellent, highly adjustable stand, a USB 3 hub, and USB-C connectivity with Power Delivery and you've got a thoroughly capable and hassle-free monitor to complement even the best MacBook. (opens in new tab) 

(Image credit: Asus)
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5. ASUS ZenScreen MB16ACE

The best monitor for keeping your MacBook Pro portable

Specifications

Screen size: 15.6 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 1920x1080 (Full HD)
Brightness: 250cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 800:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Small, slim and very light
+
Full HD, IPS image quality
+
Well priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Small screen size
-
Brightness isn't the best

Want a monitor for your MacBook Pro that'll work on the go as well as at home? Consider a portable monitor. These clever screens are a similar size to your MacBook's screen and are super-slim and light so can be carried alongside your MacBook. And the best bit? Their single-cable USB-C connection can also power the screen from your MacBook's battery, so you can indulge in dual-screen computing with no AC outlet required! If you'd prefer to keep your MacBook juiced up for as long as possible, then go for the ZenScreen MB16AP variant which packs a built-in 7800mAh rechargeable battery giving up to 4 hours of screen time.

The 15.6-inch ZenScreen MB16ACE is one of the best portable monitors for your MacBook Pro. It has solid screen specs: Full HD 1920 x 1080 res, along with IPS color and contrast accuracy. Slim screen bezels keep the overall size small at 359.7 x 226.4, and just 8mm thick. Asus also includes a useful wraparound smart case cover that converts to a prop stand.

See also: Best portable monitors (opens in new tab)

Dell 2720Q UltraSharp 27" 4K USB-C Monitor, one of the best monitors for MacBook

(Image credit: Dell)

6. Dell 2720Q UltraSharp 27" 4K USB-C Monitor

Another great 27-inch monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 27 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 4K UHD (3840 X 2160)
Brightness: 350cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1300:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Native 4K
+
Range of ports
+
Great value

A 27-inch monitor is a nice size for most people, hitting that sweet spot beyond which a large screen can become a space-stealer. And here's another of our favorites for MacBook Pro users right now. With native 4K resolution, a high contrast ratio of 1300:1, and a wide color coverage including 95% DCI-P3, you'll get a first-class picture. There's great connectivity, too, with lots of ports, including a security lock slot, an HDMI port, a DP port, a USB-C/DisplayPort, an audio line-out port, USB downstream ports, and USB-C downstream ports.

(Image credit: Benq)
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Great value and image quality, if you can manage without 4K

Specifications

Screen size: 27 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 2560x1440 (WQHD)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Wide color space coverage
+
Great colour accuracy

Reasons to avoid

-
Not 4K
-
Exterior looks bland next to a MacBook

Want to do justice to your MacBook Pro's color-accurate display? The SW270C is a great choice, as it has incredibly accurate colors. It covers an impressive 99 percent of the AdobeRGB color gamut as well as 100 percent of the sRGB color space and 97 percent of the DCI-P3 video color space, and the monitor will even remind you when it's due to be calibrated. 

Its USB-C connection enables a single-cable connection to your MacBook with no dongles necessary, plus it can supply up to 60W Power Delivery to power your MacBook. The monitor also boasts two USB Type-A ports and an SD card reader - very useful for modern MacBook Pros that lack these ports. The only downside with the SW270C is its 2560 x 1440 screen res, which is well short of 4K and could look a little pixelated next to your MacBook's Retina display.

(Image credit: HP)
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8. HP Z24N G2

The best 24-inch monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 24 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:10
Resolution: 1920x1200 (WUXGA)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Quality build and performance
+
Elegant slim-bezel look

Reasons to avoid

-
Power over USB restricted to 15w

HP's Z-series monitors are designed for professional environments, but this 24-inch Z24N G2 is still a great choice for home use. You get uncompromising quality control, like factory color calibration, as well as HP's Zero Bright Dot Guarantee, where HP will replace the screen if even one pixel fails. 

1920 x 1200 screen resolution is just above Full HD and therefore not exactly headline-grabbing, but it's enough to give you decent image clarity on a screen this size, even if it won't rival the crispness of your MacBook's Retina display. More important is the panel's IPS technology which makes for 99% sRGB color space coverage, wide 178x178-degree viewing angles, and a real-world viewing experience that'll really display your photos at their best. 

You can connect this monitor straight to a modern MacBook Pro thanks to its USB-C connectivity, so no annoying adapter dongles are required, though power over USB is limited to a paltry 15W, so you'll still need to keep using your MacBook's AC power cord.

(Image credit: Asus)
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9. Asus ProArt PA32UCG

The best 32-inch monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 32 inches
Aspect ratio: 16:9
Resolution: 3840x2160 (4K)
Brightness: 1000cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 3000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Feature-packed
+
Stunning image quality
+
Genuine HDR brightness & contrast

Reasons to avoid

-
Extremely expensive
-
Requires a lot of desk space

Aimed at creative professionals, the Asus ProArt PA32UCG is a brilliant 4K USB-C monitor which boasts HDR imaging capabilities and nearly every feature a creative could want for an image or video editing. 

The Thunderbolt 3/USB-C connection means this monitor can be connected to your MacBook Pro with just a single cable, and with up to 60W of Power Delivery, that same wire can also power your MacBook - neat stuff. You also get 100% sRGB color space coverage, 99.5% Adobe RGB, and 95% DCI-P3; plus pro-grade calibration features and a hardware calibration tool in the box. 

There's no getting away from the fact that it is expensive, but if you're serious about image quality and want to match or even exceed the quality of your MacBook's Retina display, this is the monitor to go for.

(Image credit: LG)
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10. LG 34WP85C-B curved ultrawide monitor

The best 34-inch monitor for MacBook Pro

Specifications

Screen size: 34 inches
Aspect ratio: 21:9
Resolution: 3440x1440 (UWQHD)
Brightness: 300cd/m2
Contrast ratio: 1000:1
USB-C: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Accessible price
+
Decent 3440 x 1440 res for the money
+
99% sRGB coverage

Reasons to avoid

-
Huge width dominates a desk

Fancy an extra-large ultrawide monitor for your MacBook Pro, and one that also wraps around you for a more immersive viewing experience? A curved monitor is an answer, and we reckon the LG 34WP85C represents superb value for money. For starters, it's an IPS display, so color and contrast accuracy should be more reliable than a cheaper curved monitor using VA LCD screen technology. 

Not only is this critical for accurate image editing, it's also the display technology used in a MacBook Pro's Retina display, so this monitor's image quality will look that part alongside your MacBook. You also get a decent 95% DCI-P3 color space coverage, plus there's HDR10 certification for viewing high dynamic range content. The 3440 x 1440 aspect ratio is to be expected for this screen size and matches equivalently-sized curved monitors at higher price points. All things considered, this LG panel is a bit of a bargain.

See also: Best ultrawide monitors (opens in new tab)

How we test monitors

We evaluate a monitor (opens in new tab) with particular attention given to its core image quality, including brightness, contrast, color vibrancy, and accuracy. While this can - and will - be assessed by the experienced eye of our professional reviewer, some manufacturer screen specs can only be definitively judged by an 'electronic eye' - a monitor calibrator. Where possible, a calibration device will be placed on the screen to verify its advertised color space coverage, brightness output and consistency, and factory color calibration accuracy. Beyond image quality, we'll also scrutinize the monitor's display and data ports to ensure acceptable connectivity, and will give a thorough assessment of build quality, including the range of ergonomic adjustments in its stand. Only then will we determine if a screen is worthy of use by a discerning imaging or video enthusiast.

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